Environment

Mandatory evacuations ordered to portion of Blaine County

Elmore County resident's video shows severe flooding in mountain town

Renee Scott took video driving through the Pine and Featherville area in Elmore County, where roads have washed out and some residents have been evacuated thanks to flooding.
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Renee Scott took video driving through the Pine and Featherville area in Elmore County, where roads have washed out and some residents have been evacuated thanks to flooding.

A small portion of Blaine County received a mandatory evacuation order on Monday due to ongoing flooding near some of the homes along the Warm Springs drainage area.

The majority of Blaine County’s populated area has not received mandatory evacuation orders. While Treasure Valley residents are all too aware of how the surplus of water is affecting the Boise River, many other Idaho areas have been hit even harder.

Twenty-nine of Idaho’s 44 counties now have either a county or state emergency declaration.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little on Monday declared a state of emergency in Blaine County as flooding rapidly progressed.

Flooding from warm weather and heavy precipitation has washed out roads and forced residents in areas like Pine and Featherville to evacuate, according to the Elmore County Sheriff's Office.

“We had a tough winter, and now with warmer weather Blaine County is seeing the effects of heavy snowfall and the resulting runoff,” Little said in a news release. “This emergency declaration means the State of Idaho will share in the financial burden the floodwaters are causing to our state and municipal infrastructure. We have had an abnormal winter exceeding 25-year, 50-year and perhaps 100-year event projections. Now that we’re well into spring and headed for summer, we’re seeing a new burden on our citizens.”

On Sunday, the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office posted a warning to Facebook about flooding and damage in the mountains. According to the release, warmer temperatures have caused mountain snow to melt, and small towns in the county east of Ada are taking a beating.

Roads have washed out in the Pine and Featherville area, a popular camping and recreation spot off U.S. 20 northeast of Mountain Home.

“The Bumgardner Road and the Old Logging Road are closed due to flooding and washing out of the roadways,” Sheriff Mike Hollinshead said in the release.

Hollinshead said campgrounds and residential subdivisions have been evacuated., and all campsites north of the Pine Bridge are closed. Mountain Home resident Reneé Scott said there was 3 feet of standing water in the mountain areas Friday, and conditions have gotten worse since then.

“My boyfriend had to help one of the families hurry and get some valuables out (of their house),” Scott said. “It’s very sad, and I know a bunch of the people personally. It’s hurtful.”

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the Middle Fork Road to Atlanta has also been “significantly affected,” though the extent of the damage is not yet known. In addition, Prairie has been hit by flooding, too. Smith Creek Road has washed out, and nearby campsites have been evacuated and closed down.

The Blaine County Sheriff’s Office released a statement warning residents to stay away from the rivers, creeks and streams.

On Monday, the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement saying pre-evacuation — which means prepare to evacuate — and evacuation may be ordered and power may be shut off if emergency officials decide it is necessary.

Public officials will work to communicate such events to those affected through the Code Red Emergency Alert Notification System. If residents have not already registered to receive the Code Red emergency alerts, visit blainecounty911.org/systems.asp and register through the Blaine County Alert Notification System.

To monitor river flows across the state, residents may visit the U.S. Geological Survey website. As of 3:45 p.m. Monday, the Boise River at Glenwood Bridge was flowing at 8,840 cubic feet per second.

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